The key EU policy work priorities of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities are set out in its EU policy guidelines. Approved by the Association’s board, the guidelines provide a strategic framework for lobbying efforts. The first EU policy guidelines were drawn up upon Finland’s accession to the EU in 1995 and have been regularly reviewed every few years since then.
The Association's EU lobbying goal is to secure and improve local government functions in Finland by influencing EU policy-making and by capitalising on the opportunities for international cooperation offered by EU membership.
The Association’s key EU policy objectives:
- The EU takes account of the views of local and regional authorities in its decision-making.
- A prior assessment is made of the administrative and economic impacts of EU legislation on the operation of local and regional authorities.
- EU legislation is reduced and simplified.
- The special features of the Nordic, municipal welfare model – equality, universality and financing through taxation – are taken account of in the preparation of EU decisions.
- Competitiveness objectives are set in a way that promotes social justice and well-being.
- Multilevel governance is promoted based on the subsidiarity principle.
- The role of the Committee of the Regions as a channel of influence for local authorities and regions is strengthened.
- Local authorities are given more opportunities to influence the preparation of EU issues at the national level.
Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU 2019
Finland held the Council Presidency during the latter half of 2019.
The Association’s goals for Finland’s Presidency highlighted the importance of the forthcoming EU programming period 2021–2027 for municipalities and regions. The Association also focused on the following themes:
- climate policy, circular economy and energy policy
- gender equality and non-discrimination
- promotion of wellbeing and prevention of social exclusion
- digital transformation
- education policy and foreign language proficiency
These same themes were brought into focus in the Association’s programme for the European elections.